SEMPORNA: After more than 30 years of waiting, 745 land settlers in Mount Pock and Nagos, here, finally received their communal land titles which were handed to them today by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
The historic occasion took place at the Semporna community hall which saw 2,096 hectares of land in total (1,388 hectares in Mount Pock and 708 hectares in Nagos) given to them.
The settlers in Mount Pock received eight acres of land each and in Nagos, five acres each.
In his speech at the event, Musa said the giving of the communal land titles was proof of the state government’s impartiality towards any Sabah resident when it involved the issue of land and instead, the government always strived to meet the people’s wants in a fair manner.
“It is only an allegation by some irresponsible quarters that we only give titles for land in the interior areas of Keningau, Pensiangan and Nabawan. But we actually try to give land titles in all areas of Sabah including
Semporna but it may take some time here as the process can be long,” he said.
Meanwhile, Musa advised the recipients of land titles not to sell their land but to work the land to generate income and to benefit their future generations.
Sappari Osman, 52, representing today’s recipients, said they were grateful and thanked the state government and leaders who were concerned about their plight and worked at helping them own the land.
“Indeed it was difficult to get this land and we had to go through a lot, as the Forestry Department had made it a reserve land to protect it. As a result, getting this land had involved a lot of emotions and some feelings were hurt in the process and we would like to apologise. In the end, however, the effort bore fruit,” he said.
The residents had occupied the land in the two areas since the 1970s.
However, in 1984, the state government declared the land as forest reserve and since then, the residents had applied to work the land to get out of poverty.- BERNAMA